Kishtwar (Jammu and Kashmir) [India]: The research team of the Department of Wildlife Protection, Jammu and Kashmir confirmed the presence of Snow Leopard in Kishtwar High Altitude National Park through camera trap photographs, an official statement said on Tuesday.
The Wildlife Protection Department said that camera traps installed before the occurrence of snowfall in the National Park have retrieved multiple images of snow leopards. On the occasion, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Wildlife Warden Suresh Kumar Gupta appreciated the efforts of the research team led by Dr Kumar MK, Regional Wildlife Warden, Jammu and Majid Bashir Mintoo, Wildlife Warden, Chenab Division Kishtwar.
‘The camera traps installed before snowfall in the National Park have been retrieved and multiple images of snow leopards have been captured in the camera trap frames. In one camera trap frame, three snow leopards have been captured roaming amidst the pristine snow-covered landscapes in the Renai catchment of Kishtwar High Altitude National Park.
The camera trap images showcase the remarkable adaptability of this elusive species, well-suited to thrive in the challenging high-altitude environment of Kishtwar,’ he said.
‘The successful camera trap sighting of the Snow Leopards is an affirmation of the effectiveness of the park’s conservation strategies, which encompasses habitat protection, anti-poaching initiatives, community engagement, and scientific research. These combined efforts have created a conducive environment for the Snow Leopard population to flourish within the park’s boundaries and adjoining areas,’ he added.
The Kishtwar High Altitude National Park, in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir, is renowned for its diverse array of flora and fauna, including several rare and endangered species.
‘The Snow Leopard holds immense ecological significance, acting as a keystone species in maintaining the delicate balance of the ecosystem. By conserving this apex predator, the Kishtwar High Altitude National Park also safeguards the diverse range of wildlife that co-exists within its boundaries, including the Himalayan Ibex, Musk Deer, and numerous avian species,’ he mentioned.
Earlier, the Department of Wildlife Protection Department, through an outsourced scientific study, also captured two leopards (one adult and one sub-adult) in a single frame of a camera trap in Nanth Nallah. This study is part of the Snow Leopard Population Assessment and biodiversity documentation of protected areas being carried out by the department.